Your healthcare team is there to help with making treatment decisions.
To help you decide, make sure you get answers to the following questions:
- What are all the treatment options available for someone in my situation?
- What do the treatments do and what will happen to the cancer?
- What are the treatment procedures?
- What are the benefits and how likely are they?
- What are the possible side effects? (please see another booklet in this series: Side Effects)
- What are the practical requirements of the treatment (e.g. travel to a treatment centre, taking time off work, changes in responsibilities, costs)
- How will the treatment affect my quality of life?
- How will the treatments be monitored?
- What are the costs involved with the treatments?
- How might the treatments affect other health conditions I might have?
These are not the only questions to ask, but they might help you think of others. You need as much information as possible to help you make sense of all the choices open to you and decide on the best course of action. Be prepared not to get all the answers you want in one visit with your doctor or a member of your healthcare team – it might take several discussions before you get all the information you need. It is important for you to:
- Take your time: Although a prostate cancer diagnosis might make you feel you need to start treatment straight away, in most situations treatment is not immediately urgent. It is more important to take the time to know and understand what the treatment involves.
- Take a trusted person with you: This will provide you with emotional support and a second point of view.
- Write answers down: This will ensure you don’t forget.
- Keep asking questions: Whenever you need more information, ask your doctor or a member of your healthcare team, even after you have made a decision about the type of treatment.
- Remember, the decision can be changed: Sometimes the treatment can cause side effects and other problems for you. When that happens, you can talk with your doctor or a member of your healthcare team about varying the treatment.
- Get a second opinion: Getting an opinion from another doctor is common. It will not offend your doctor. Your doctor might even recommend it.
After getting all the information about treatment options and assessing their personal views, needs and situation, some people choose not to have any treatment. This is a valid choice. It is important to not let your decision be swayed by people who are uninformed and carefully consider information you have read on the internet as it may not be up to date or may not have a creditable source.